Somewhere on US-31 between Charlevoix and Petoskey in Northern Michigan looking out at the Big Lake….
I attended the opening of the Ann Arbor Women Artists Spring Exhibition last night and was surprised and honored to find out that my oil painting, “Sunday Brunch,” had won Best of Show. A big appreciation to AAWA and many thanks to the juror Sara Brooks Clark.
There are many beautiful works in the show, in varied mediums. Stop by the show at:
Mallets Creek Library
3090 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
March 16-April 29
The model at our figure drawing class last Saturday had a wonderful strong body and a distinctive face, full of character. Joe had an angular bone structure and deep set eyes. He reminded me very much of the models that Jusepe De Ribera, a Spanish artist who painted in the 1600s, used for his paintings. (See samples of his work below.)
Although I was at class specifically to paint the whole figure, I got caught up in capturing his expressive face in a few of the 2o-minute sketches. I started with vine charcoal, but darkened the original drawing with compressed charcoal, and then added a a few highlights with some lighter pastels.
I’m a huge fan of drawing the human body from life. There’s nothing more instructive (or frustrating!) than trying to capture a unique body in a unique position. And there really is no faking it. I always say you can fudge a flower, a tree, a sunset. But it’s much more difficult to fake a person. Plus, I believe that learning to SEE and then draw a body, helps me to SEE and draw any other subject I might choose. So,I try to get to my figure drawing class as often as I can.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been to my nude drawing session in quite a long time. Somehow, something always comes up on Saturday morning. But I finally managed to get there this weekend and thought I’d post some of my sketches. These are 20-minute sketches in vine charcoal. They are quick and intuitive, with very little compositional planning. Just start your hand moving and see what you can capture in the allotted time frame.
Another painting in my recent series of inside bars and restaurants. I finished this one last month but was having difficulty photographing it because the oil paint is thicker and shiny. I put a satin retouch varnish on it and shot it again, but I keep getting highlights on the ridges of the paint. If anyone knows the trick to avoiding them, I’d love to know! I love capturing these “behind the scenes” views of eating and drinking establishments.
I just returned home from a long weekend with my sister in Chicago. She went to a tradeshow and I prowled the many art galleries in the River North section of the city. Most of them carried either past masters or contemporary abstracts. There were a few figurative offerings. Saw no contemporary plein air painters. But it was an inspiring tour none the less. I could look at art forever. And the MEGA BONUS was a morning visit to one of my favorite museums in the world: The Art Institute of Chicago. I’ve visited many times before, but with my recent emphasis on oil painting, it became completely new to me again. It’s chock full of Impressionist paintings and I inspected each and every painting from 6 feet back AND 5 inches away. I would have gotten closer but the gallery guards gave me a few warnings. It amazes me that there are so many ways to apply paint on canvas or board. I have so much to learn and so many experiments ahead.
Needless to say, I snapped tons of research photos inside some of the cool restaurants we visited. I’m excited to start using them to plan new compositions to paint…